Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Elastic-bound dog gets a new home as former owner faces charge

LARGO

The tightly wrapped rubber band dug into the 9-month-old puppy's snout for days.

It kept him from eating. Ripped through skin and muscle around his muzzle. Bore a large hole through the top of his snout, where the constant pressure ate away at weaker bones.

Veterinarians didn't know what to make of the abused dog's unusual injuries.

They didn't know if he would ever fully recover or what nerves might have been irreparably damaged.

Less than two months later, they have an answer:

Despite a small scar circling his snout and a tiny hole, Sox is one happy puppy.

And now he has a new family.

• • •

An alert schoolteacher first notified authorities about Sox.

Two students, both under 10, had told her they thought their puppy was dying slowly in their bathroom.

Their teacher called the SPCA Tampa Bay. An investigator went to the children's home on Dec. 12 and found the dog, his mouth clamped shut, covered in fleas and feces, a stinking wound on his muzzle. The owner seemed unconcerned, they said, but promised to take him to the vet.

The investigator came back the next day and the owner relinquished control to the SPCA.

The 18-pound Yorkshire terrier/poodle mix arrived for medical care. SPCA Tampa Bay veterinarian Rizal Lopez consulted with other surgeons.

"We hadn't seen a wound of this magnitude," he said. "We don't typically see rubber bands or strings tied (around the muzzle)."

It's much more common to see collar injuries like this, where the constant pressure from embedded chains, for example, tears away at the skin and muscle.

Sox's prognosis was uncertain.

• • •

Lori Chambers read of Sox's abuse toward the end of December and was heartbroken. Weeks later, the 51-year-old Largo woman still couldn't talk about the story without choking up.

She knew what needed to be done: Find Sox a good home.

"I was afraid that nobody would want him," Chambers said. "I couldn't let that happen."

So she and her daughter, Christina, 32, took action. They tracked his case online, filled out adoption papers and made calls to the SPCA. In early February, she learned that her family was one of three who would interview for the chance to adopt Sox. She, her husband, daughter, granddaughter and two dogs all went to the appointment. They finally met Sox.

"That was when I knew I didn't want him to go with anyone else," she said. "It was really hard leaving that meeting."

On Feb. 9, she got the good news over the phone. The next day, Sox moved in. Coincidentally, that same day, Sox's former owner was charged with animal cruelty.

• • •

Sox is mostly healed now.

Sometimes his snout itches where the small hole remains, but that just requires a little vitamin E, Chambers said.

The 11-month-old multicolored mix is energetic and sweet. He loves playing with his stuffed brown reindeer, often seen hanging from his mouth as he jogs about the house or lying next to him in his bed.

He has his moments of skittishness, Chambers said, especially when he hears barks or loud noises. But mostly he just wants to play.

"His personality is so alive," Chambers said. "He's just happy. We weren't expecting this. We thought it was going to be tough for him. It's almost like he has no clue what happened to him.

"He's just alive. He's vivid. He's very, very happy."

• • •

Sox's former owner, 32-year-old Tieesha Cogdell of Clearwater, was charged with first-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty about two months after the puppy was taken from her home.

Reached by phone Wednesday, she declined to comment. Her arraignment is set for Monday.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804.

Elastic-bound dog gets a new home as former owner faces charge 02/22/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  2. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  4. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond

    Crime

    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally